Posted by Matthias Günther on Dec 4, 2011

I attended the Global Coderetreat1 event initialized by Corey Haines2. The
general purpose of this event was to get a bunch of hackers together to implement
Conway’s Game of Life.

Setting up goals

As J. B. Rainsberger mentioned in his article about four elements of simple design, it is best to setup goals for your retreat to get most out of it. Here is a list of what I achieved in every section:

  1. Being a mentor of TDD: I taught dedan how to use TDD, why
    TDD helps you to think about your design
  2. Being a mentor of BDD: Showing a fellow Rubyist how to do BDD
  3. Doing something completely stupid: I played evil coder and ping-pong pairing with
    @tilosoenke - we couldn’t communicate with
    words, only with code, one writing tests and other the implementation of the tests.
  4. Discuss about names: We said together and discussed about right names for methods, variables, and
    classes. We concluded that good names saves you scary comments in your code
  5. Explain Ruby to a Java-Programmer
  6. Being mentored about Lisp: We solved the whole ‘Game of Live’ in common Lisp3, while
    @HansHuebener explained me the
    strength and beauty in common Lisp, while the programmer explained me the strength and beauty of


It was great to get so many people with so many different skills and mindsets together, exchange
experience and encouraging others to try something new. I will definitely have a closer look on
Lisp to enhance my Ruby style.

Further reading